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Q:

As an industry expert and small business owner, what are the 2 biggest issues challenging you as you strive to build a profitable and successful business?

last week

Responses

last week

Hiring, retaining and managing staff is a challenge at all levels of business growth. The other challenge initially faced is cash flow as this really represents the nuts and bolts of the business - cash out for costs like staff, space, equipment, software, utilities, etc, and cash in for completing work to client satisfaction and thus being paid in a timely manner. Cash flow tends to improve as the business reaches maturity - processes become better and inflows improve. The next challenge of a small business is building real value into the business. For example, underpinning the business with a fixed asset such as an office to break the rental cycle - very difficult as the banks don't really lend to small businesses (just the individuals who run them which is different.)

Cashflow is always an issue.
Finding and developing the right team members.
Marketing in an ever changing world, and keeping up with trends.

last week

I concur with both of the above answers, but specifically on cash flow.
My frustration has been the lack of willingness by any financial institution, even those that promote themselves as small business lenders, to readily obtain support for a young business (eg less than 2 years old) in rapid growth.
The hurdles to seek approval for a modest amount are onerous, and exploitative.
My business is self funded, and we have a spotless track record since inception, and can prove profitability and cash flow from our relatively short tenure.
Sadly my view now is that there is highly conservative, non progressive attitude coming from our financial arena in this country.

Comments

Hi Peter,
Sadly I agree that the appetite for lending to small business is still very poor. Have you used a broker to look at what a variety of lenders may be capable of?

Peter, left field idea, but maybe check out American Express who have slashed their transaction fees recently and are aggressively pursuing new business. They are keen to establish themselves with new and fast growing businesses and their requirements are not onerous. Also, I believe the card is issued against the business and not individually so it does not affect your personal lending capacity. You obviously need to check or get advice on all this, I am just re-quoting here, but its something I am looking at currently. As long as you can meet their repayment requirements, Amex provide a solution for you.

I think almost every small business owner suffers similar pains at different times within their business.
I see the top issues for many of them being:

- Lead generation
- Conversion
- Systemisation (to handle the growth after the leads and conversions are sorted)
- Growth strategies
- Exit strategies.

My issues are a little different in that we have those items above reasonably well taken care of, but I'm still not a Billionaire so I have some ways to go yet and constantly look for improvement - Having said that, I guess our two biggest issues are:
1.) We probably under charge to make our services more attainable, and
2.) Unfortunately, most of our market don't know they need us yet.

As an industry expert what we see with our clients is cashflow being the typical block that stands out. It’s the symptom of underlying causes such as inefficiency sitting in the business. As Jamie said above, cashflow improves when processes become better (or at least documented!) as there are many small and hidden inefficiencies sitting in the business that can be uncovered and addressed once we put the lens on to find them.

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